Washington, DC, August 4, 2015 (MACP) — Today marks the one-year anniversary of the inaugural US-Africa Leaders Summit, convened last August by President Obama here in Washington DC. At the summit, more than a dozen high-ranking Moroccan officials and business leaders led by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane made a strong case for Morocco’s key role in promoting economic development and stability in Africa, attending more than 70 events that resulted in a number of public statements and signed agreements in the areas of business, education, counterterrorism, and more.
Since then, Morocco has continued to champion African development and strengthen its commitments on the continent:
- In September 2014, King Mohammed VI used the UN General Assembly meeting as a platform to call for a new approach to development in Africa. The King described his message as “simply an earnest call to do justice to the countries of the South by reconsidering the way they are dealt with and supporting them in their gradual march towards progress.” The King reiterated his appeal to Africa itself “to turn the page on the past and overcome its political, economic and social problems” and “to rely on its own resources to achieve its development.”
- In November 2014, Morocco hosted the fifth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit. “We are proud that this Summit, which was launched in 2009 by President Barack Obama, is being held for the first time on African soil,” said King Mohammed VI in a message delivered on the occasion. The King lauded entrepreneurs as “people who challenge the established order and the status quo,” calling entrepreneurship and innovation “springboards for freedom, social mobility and prosperity.” In his keynote address at the Summit, Vice President Joseph Biden announced the launch of several initiatives aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in Morocco and the region.
- Also in November 2014, Morocco hosted the second annual World Human Rights Forum, where 7,000 people from nearly 100 countries met to assess progress and challenges in the human rights arena. In his address to the Forum, delivered by Justice Minister Mustafa Ramid, King Mohammed VI made the case for Africa’s participation in a new era of human rights challenges, stating that “Africa wants to be heard; it wants to make a contribution to devising standards that are truly universal. Our continent does not want to be kept on the sidelines when it comes to human rights, which concern Africa too.”
- In March 2015, Morocco launched the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Morchidines, and Morchidates, which aims to instill the values of Morocco’s open, moderate form of Islam, based on the Maliki rite and Sunni Sufism, in the next generation of Muslim religious leaders from across the region and the world. Morocco has signed accords to train such leaders from a number of countries across Africa and Europe, including Mali, Libya, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, the Maldives, and Belgium.
- Also in March 2015, the Swiss-owned and Monaco-based Crans Montana Forum convened more than 800 people from around the world in Dakhla, Morocco for its 25th event, themed “South-South cooperation and the development of Africa.” In a message delivered to Forum participants on his behalf by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, King Mohammed VI acknowledged that “the borders inherited from colonization often continue to be a major source of tension and conflict,” and that “Africa is a continent with growing and unsettling security issues”; but he stressed that “Africa’s tremendous human and natural resources should, instead, be a powerful catalyst for regional integration,” and urged that “It is up to us – Africans – to innovate in order to turn them into open spaces where fruitful exchange and interaction can flourish between African societies.”
- In April 2015, on the sidelines of the third US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue, Morocco signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Millennium Challenge Corporation to “facilitate sharing the lessons of Morocco’s development experience with other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, and serve as an important catalyst for South-South cooperation.”
- In late May 2015, King Mohammed VI began a three-week, four-nation tour of West and Central Africa that resulted in the signing of 35 bilateral agreements with Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, and Gabon. The trip came less than a year after a similar tour, during which the King visited Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Gabon and presided over the signing of more than 80 bilateral agreements on trade, agriculture, water, energy, and job training, among other areas. The King had also visited Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Gabon in March 2013.
- In July 2015, King Mohammed VI launched the Mohammed VI Foundation for African Oulema, to support Moroccan and African theologians and scholars in promoting religious tolerance and moderation on the continent. The Foundation will support the establishment of religious and scientific schools and cultural centers to spread the values of moderate Islam across Africa.
“Morocco cherishes its African heritage and its tradition of strong relationships with its African neighbors. As President Obama and the US continue engagement to promote economic development and stability on the continent, we couldn’t have a more connected and more committed partner than Morocco,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel.
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
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